The population of Bangladesh is relatively homogeneous and consists of 98% ethnic Bengalis. The other 2 % belong to different tribal groups and communities, who live mostly in the hilly regions of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Rajshahi areas. The majority of the tribes are descended from Tibet Burman ethnic group with pronounced Mongol lineaments. Their specific languages and dialects are of the same group and have its own specific and strict social organization. Their bamboo houses, which sit on stilts two to three meters above ground as protection against floods and wildlife, are unique to them.
I have long held an interest in ethnic groups, minorities and isolated communities. I feel great satisfaction in communicating with such people, in hearing their stories, observing their habits and enjoying their primitive art. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity through the valuable help of my guide Eusuf, to visit eight different tribal communities in Bangladesh, to communicate with them and photograph some of the important moments of their daily lives.
This chapter contains some basic information and data about the tribal groups, it is provided by The International Mission Board - Global Research, Month 20XX, http://www.peoplegroups.org.
I would like to point out that the aim of this article isn’t to provide a visual and anthropological or ethnical research on the various tribes, but rather to illustrate and promote the authenticity and uniqueness of their cultures, by way of sensitively captured photographs.
The tribes I visited, documented and photographed are: Tripuri, Garo, Khasi, Manipuri, Mros, Bawm, Marma and Condro. The Condro was the only tribe I failed to find any information about, therefore I have only the pictures to offer. I endeavoured to visit several villages of each tribe in order to be able to capture both the general and the specific - I succeeded in most cases. I also set out to photograph representative examples of both sexes, of any age, as well as some specific activities, such as sorting leaves of betel, which is a specific occupation of the Khasi tribe. There are additional photographs to be viewed in my online galleries for which I have added web links under the descriptions of each tribe.
The Tripuri (also Tipra or Tipperah) people are the original inhabitants of the Twipra Kingdom in North-East India and Bangladesh. Tripuris entered their present country through its north-eastern corner, settled there and gradually expanded their settlement and suzerainty over the whole of Tripura. They were able to expand their influence as far south as Chittagong, as far west as Comilla and Noakhali (known during the British period as 'plains Tipperah') and as far north as Sylhet (all in present Bangladesh). The Tripuri people have a rich historical, social and cultural heritage which is totally distinct from that of the mainland Indians. Their distinctive culture – as reflected in their dance, music, festivals, management of community affairs, dress and food habits – has a strong base.